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Joshua 24:13-24Truly each one of us will be faced with a need to make decisions. This coming year, you and I will have to make a significant decision that will surely affect our lives and the lives of people we love and the lives of other people around us that is within our circle of influence. Amidst all that was happening in the world during the time of Joshua, the great deal of sin, immortality, disobedience and rebellion, Joshua took a bold stand and made a decision. He made a decision of commitment about serving the Lord (v. 14-15) as well as a decision to embrace and obey and tell others about the values, commands, and principles of God.
Making a decision to trust God.· I am sure that there will be days before us this new year that you and I will be greatly stretched by our faith and by our circumstances. There will be situations that I think God will arrange and some He will allow that will stretch us to the point where it will require a great deal of faith on our part to really believe that God is able to see us through it. We will find ourselves in situations that will be unfamiliar to us or situations where we will not be sure of what to do and God is going to ask us to trust Him. We will be stretched and you and I will either trust the Lord more or believe that He fails us and doesn’t care. God wants to do the impossible in our lives this year, but are we going believe Him more than we have ever done so before and see Him do amazing things? Are we going to make a decision to trust Him or not? You and I will be faced with making this decision.
Making a decision to make our familia a priority.· Some of us will and some of us won’t make our home, our family a priority. But some will decide like Joshua did (v.15) and we should do the same.
Making a decision to look for opportunities to grow in the Word of God.· Time in God’s Word will help you and I resist the temptations that we will face and there are all kinds of them. In particular, the temptation of pride. Pride that causes you and I to think that we can survive on our own without God and His help. The Word of God will surely humble us (Psalm 119:11). It will also help us to live wisely (Psalm 119:105). It will strengthen us everyday because it gives us hope (Psalm 119:49). It will bring comfort to our hearts (Jeremiah 15:16). It brings courage to trust God to do things, and let Him be God (Joshua 1:6-9; Psalm 46:10). Familia, spiritual survival is not possible without nourishment from the Word of God. God’s Word is essential to us as believers (Deuteronomy 8:3). As we begin a new year, let each of us commit to daily spending time in the Word. It will help us meet every challenge. Whatever we face this year, God’s promises are there for you and for me.
Joshua 24:13-24What’s ahead of us is a year of decisions for all of us. I’m sure you can agree that in some way or another all of us will make numerous decisions that will have significant impact upon our own lives, in the people we love and in the circumstances of our day to day life. Surely the days ahead of us will be filled with a lot of good days, but I am also sure that this coming year will also have its share of bad days as well. But it doesn’t really matter if our days are good or bad because God is faithful in the midst of it. Our God will always show us the way to go and the way to get out of bad days. Our God knows what is ahead and will go with us wherever we go and will help us, guide us and direct us. That is if we allow Him to do so.
1. All of us are going to make extremely important decisions. In the days and the New Year to come you and I will have to come to a serious decision about making God first and showing it by how we live (vs. 14-15).· God reminded the Israelites of what they had is because of Him (vs.2-13). And because of all that He has done for them they were exhorted to trust the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness and throw away the false gods that their fathers have worshiped and the gods of their conquered land. Joshua made a bold decision of commitment himself and proclaimed that he and his household will serve the Lord, seek and call upon His Name every day of his life (v.14-15).
2. All of us will be called to make decisions about real values that we choose and embrace.· It is one thing to say God is everything, but it is another thing to live it out. Are the values, commands, the ways of God really important to you and me? Why would you want to decide to choose to embrace the values of God? Familia, when you love the Lord, put Him first, respond and obey His commands, then it is for your own good. It will bring blessings and life. It is for our good and survival and the future of our lives and those we love.
3. All of us will reap great consequences from the decisions we have made and will make this coming year.· If you and I put God first and decide to choose to make Him Lord and commit ourselves to holding firm to what we know and believe are His commands and values, then God will honor and bless you and I for it. I don’t know how or when, but I know He would because He is faithful.
John 3:16Are you in a situation that you feel there is no hope? Whether the difficulty is physical, financial or relational, it can feel like what the Bible defines as perishing. Our problems does not simply just go away because it’s Christmas season. But Jesus offers a freedom you and I can have based on John 3:16. And if we focus on what Jesus came to do, we can find new hope and strength for making it through. Christ is ready and willing to help us and bless us. We can have this hope because of the loving heart of God towards us that gives. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The Christmas message.The center of the Christmas message is the Son of God. But the heart of it is that God sent Jesus because He did not want people, anyone of us to perish. To perish is not just to not know eternal salvation, but also to live trapped in the numerous things that burdens and hinders life and shatters hope that has come down from generation to generation or brought down upon ourselves from something we have done even in recent days. Life begins to dry up, decay, fall apart and die. And a person who is honest acknowledges that truly it’s because of brokenness, failure and sin. Sin is something we often do not want to talk about. But we need to know that sin grieves God not because bad things make Him mad, but because bad things ruins what He intended. Sin ruins and causes perishing.
Titus 3:1-8We should really be amazed of the Christmas plan of God. “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy” (Titus 3:4). In our scripture reading, the Apostle Paul reveals how we are. That at one time, we too are foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another (Titus 3:3). But because of God’s kindness, His mercy and love for all mankind, the Savior came into the world to save us.
God’s Christmas plan.1. Jesus came to show us His plan to change people from what they were to what they could be. He came to renew and rework our hearts and life. God’s plan is special because it spares you and me from all the trouble that we could ultimately face from going our own way. Proverbs 16:25 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” God’s plans are always better than our plans. It never changes.
Hebrews 11:23-27What happens when people decide to put the Lord first in their lives and then choose to quit on their walk of faith or the purposes of God because things get difficult? They decide that the Lord is the most important thing to them, but then things become hard and they choose to not follow Him anymore or no longer continue to do the things that He called them to do. Familia, when it comes to walking with the Lord and the plans He has for us we will encounter difficult and challenging times, therefore, endurance truly becomes very important.
What happens when I don’t endure? What happens when people chose to quit?1. It will initially affect your self image. In other words, I never become what God had intended me to be.
What can I do to live a life of endurance? What can I do to live a life of trusting God everyday and walking in His will?1. Never surrender to anything but to the will of God. Choosing not to surrender to what I feel, not to what people think about me, not to what other people think I should do, not to anyone but only to God and His will.
1 Chronicles 16:8-36; Luke 17:11-19We are made to give glory to God. The highest use of our mouth and lips and voice is to give Him praise. We need to give God glory, praise and thanksgiving. Psalm 29:2 “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.” Psalm 107:1-2 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this.” But often we are like the nine out of ten men who was healed of their leprosy, healed of their debilitating disease, but only one returned to thank Jesus. Jesus said in response, “Where not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17).
I am thankful.1. Thankful that God really loves you and me. I am thankful for the love of God. You and I really need to believe this. We need to personalize the great salvation you and I have in Jesus.
Jonah 2:1-10Why are we thankful? Why give thanks? What are you thankful for? It is so important to continue to learn and grow in the value and discipline of giving thanks in our life especially during times of difficulties and also in a time we live in today when we typically have a mind set of being privileged and deserving of everything. Surely the book of Jonah is not the book you think of when you think of thankfulness. And yet, in our text, that is exactly what you find. We find the rebellious prophet is no longer running from God, but comes to an attitude of obedience and praying to God with gratitude. Jonah says, “But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).
Thankful for:1. Thankful for the thoughtfulness of God (v. 2,4,6). Behind everything that is going on in life, God is doing something. He is always working something out for you and I. He has our goodness and well being in mind.
Ephesians 3:14-19What is the real motive for prayer? What is it that really motivates us to be the kind of people who pray because we believe it really makes a difference? Is our life characterize by a life of prayer? Praying in all circumstances whether the situation feels like you are in prison like the Apostle Paul was or whether free and enjoying everything that you can ever want or imagine (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Ephesians 6:18).
The Apostle Paul teaches us about prayer.1. Prayer is just absolutely essential. One of the most important thing we can do in life is pray. There is no greater need that we can have than to go on our knees and cry out to God and thanking Him that He is our Father.
What is the real motivation to pray? Why do you pray? What is the reason you and I find ourselves bowing on our knees before the Father (v.14)?1. God is up to something. Paul was convinced that God was up to something. I need to believe that God is up to something and doing a work.
Acts 16:16-34What kind of persons are Paul and Silas? We know that on this occasion from the scripture reading that they were in prison. They were in a very difficult and discouraging moment in their life. But in the midst of it, their reaction to this particular situation is truly unbelievable. I think we can see that the focus of their life even in this difficult circumstance is witnessing to the jailer and certainly encouraging the other prisoners. More so that the jailer who was surely part of those assigned to punish them, to see that this man comes to know Jesus Christ. How about us? Can you and I during our difficult time or situation in life see ourselves to be that person who is going to make an impact to others around us?
Paul and Silas response.
1. They were focused on thinking about God by praising and worshipping Him. (v. 25; Ephesians 5:19-20)
2. They were focused on thinking about God’s assignment for them.
3. They were focused on thinking about God’s purpose for others. (v. 27-34)
How can you and I impact the people around us that needs to know God?1. Know God’s Word. The Word of God is the foundation to all of our life. We need to live life by God’s ways.
Matthew 9:35-38As we read in the scriptures, Jesus was constantly “moved with compassion for the helpless, the sick, those who are suffering (Matthew 9:35-38; 15:29-32; 20:29-34; Mark 1:40-42; Luke 7:11-16) and for those who are lost and going to their eternal death (John 3:16-17; Luke 15:20; 1 John 4:9-10). As a disciple of Christ, you and I need to understand that the “compassion of Jesus” is a vital ingredient we need to have in our heart. It is the “compassion of Jesus” once embraced into our hearts will lead us to go share the Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20), to be prayerful and to meet the needs of people (Galatians 6:9-10; Romans 12:3-21).
The compassion of Jesus.
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